While sitting poolside with a friend one afternoon, we both lamented about how much stuff clutters our lives. It creates stress because we are always in the maintenance mode of all that we possess. Even the best neatnik most likely has a few magazines she still hopes to have time to read, or has some clothing she thinks she may still fit into.
I had a wake-up moment earlier in the year when I needed to have a clean space to finish writing my second book in a timely manner. No longer could I write two paragraphs and then be distracted by the pile on my desk. There were coupons I wanted to cut, articles I wanted to read, unopened mail, a jacket that needed a button sewn back on, some miscellaneous earrings that had no mate, a box for recycled paper and so on. My desk had become a catch-all for things yet to do.
As I cleaned off the desk, it made the surrounding area look messy. So I attacked the futon next. I stored all of the extra blankets, put away the laundry and fluffed the pillows. But next to the futon was a plastic bin filled with who knows what! The point is that I went around and around that office space cleaning area by area. In the end, I just put a bunch of stuff back into the bin and onto my desk.
When in doubt, throw out! When I realized that I was just shuffling stuff from one box to the next, or one zone to the other, I knew I had a problem. It was my burning desire to finish writing my book that became the catalyst for change. As I looked at expired coupons, old newspapers, earrings I would never find the match to, and more, I asked myself a simple question, “Is this getting me closer to finishing the book?” If not, I reluctantly put it in the garbage or the recycle bin.
As my room got cleaner and less cluttered, so did my mind. As the room looked more spacious, my creativity had space to grow. The best part of this story is that I finished my manuscript ahead of my schedule and am anxiously awaiting the last proof from the designer. What shall I do while I am waiting? Perhaps declutter the next room.